Late points from subs John Donnelly and James Bergin calmed the nerves and pushed Kilkenny towards the winning posts in the Leinster under-21 hurling championship quarter-final at Nowlan Park this evening.
The Cats turned into the last quarter leading defending champions, Dublin by 0-17 to 0-10 after their best attacker, Billy Ryan landed a lovely point.
However, for whatever reason the winners failed to drive on and the opposition claimed the next four scores through Colin Currie (2), Donal Burke and Rian McBride to drag themselves back into content. It was game on again.
Donnelly threw over a massive point from virtually on the left sideline to lessen the rising pressure on Kilkenny, and although Colin Currie landed a reply, when Donnelly struck again and Bergin added another the ticket into the semi-final was Kilkenny’s.
Dublin finished well and they might have grabbed a late goal, but the Cats had done just about enough.
The main feature of the first half was the poor shooting by both sides. They registered 16 wides, with Kilkenny the worst offenders with nine.
Twice in the early stages the scores were level, but Kilkenny enjoyed the better of things after that. However, they weren’t a bit flattered by a half-time lead of 0-9 to 0-7, even after playing against the fresh breeze..
SCORERS: Kilkenny - A. Murphy (0-7, six frees); B. Ryan (0-5); S. Walsh, J. Donnelly (0-2 each); T. Walsh, S. Morrissey, J. Walsh, L. Blanchfield, J. Bergin (0-1 each). Dublin - C. Currie (0-9, six frees, one 65); R. McBride (0-3); D. Burke, E. Conroy, F. Whitely, C. O’Sullivan (0-1 each).
Kilkenny - D. Brennan; M. Cody, C. Delaney, R. Bergin; C. Doheny, J. Cleere, T. Walsh; H. Lawlor, S. Morrissey; P. Lyng, S. Walsh, J. Walsh; A. Murphy, L. Blanchfield, B. Ryan. Subs - J. Donnelly for L. Blanchfield; L. Scanlon for P. Lyng; J. Bergin for S. Walsh; D. Mullen for C. Doheny; C. Hennessy for J. Walsh.
Dublin - J. Treacy; D. Gray, S. Barrett, J. O’Neill; C. Hendricken, J. Malone, P. O’Dea; B. Bolger, D. Burke; E. Conroy, F. Whitely, C. Burke; C. Currie, R. McBride, P. Crummey. Subs - E McHugh for C. Burke; C. O’Sullivan for P. Crummey; C. Sammon for D. Gray; J. McGuirk for Bolger; C. Dowling for C. Hendricken.
Referee - P. Murphy (Carlow).